Need of the hour is to leave the nitty-gritty of the country's foreign affairs to professionally trained diplomats

By Rajiv Sharma*
In the most deplorable attack that has shaken every Indian, Pakistan sponsored terrorists killed 17 soldiers of Indian Army and injured more than 30 in Uri in Kashmir today. Modi has made a routine statement that those behind the attack will not go unpunished. Others have also condemned strongly. But the question that demands immediate answer is that how Pakistan could dare to unleash such a big attack on our Army?
It is said when a country has a weak government, its security forces have to pay the price.
Modi government's umpteen flip flops in foreign policy issues are in public domain by now. While dealing with Pakistan, the government began with inviting Sharif to Modi's oath taking ceremony in May 2014. In just two months, this positive gesture was followed by a self-defeating decision to abruptly call off talks with Pakistan on Hurriyat issue. But then flip flops had to continue. The government suddenly relented after a few months and agreed to talk to Pakistan one fine morning. They did so even when Pakistan did not budge an inch on Hurriyat. This could not have strengthened India’s position vis a vis Pakistan among international community.
Then, Modi's unplanned visit to meet Nawaz Sharif to celebrate his birthday, even when he was not invited there, did not prove to be to India's advantage. It is reported that Modi went to the extent of touching feet of mother of Nawaz Sharif. Pakistani media profusely reported it with uncontrolled glee. Only the current PM of India knows significance of such a gesture in international diplomacy.
Further, whenever India was stung by Pakistan’s nefarious designs, Modi government would call Pakistan 'a fountainhead of world terrorism'. But then surprise of the surprises, the same government sent an invitation to infamous ISI of Pakistan to visit India's strategically sensitive Pathankot Airforce base to investigate a terrorist attack where 7 of our Jawans were killed. While doing so the government just forgot that the Pakistan airbase attack was sponsored by the same ISI of Pakistan, which would now investigate it.
Even today, it is difficult to comprehend the reasons which forced Modi government to invite ISI to stay in a sensitive airbase near Indo Pak border and investigate a terrorist act perpetrated on Indian soil. It not only allowed Pakistan’s dreaded intelligence agency to have a look at vital Indian defence establishment but also give itself a clean chit for a terrorist act it had masterminded itself. This one act of Modi government gave huge legitimacy to Pakistan to regain some of its position in world affairs, it had lost after 26/11 Mumbai attack. Now when Modi Saheb and his ministers call Pakistan a rogue or a terrorist state, there are not many international voices which echo India's position. But is it surprising, given such glaring flip flops?.
Furthermore, Modi government helplessly watched Pakistan derail 26/11 judicial process to fix handlers of Mumbai attack. So much so, it never talks about punishing 26/11 perpetrators now.
Enough damage has already been done. It is high time now that the government goes for a course correction immediately to improve its handling of foreign affairs. The need of the hour is to leave the nitty-gritty of the foreign affairs to professionally trained diplomats of ministry of External affairs within the broad policy frame work of the government.



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